The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople,
On the Acts of the ApostlesTranslated, with notes, by Rev. J. Walker, M.A., of Brasenose College;
Rev. J. Sheppard, M.A., of Oriel College, Oxford; and
Rev. H. Browne, M.A., of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
revised, with notes, by Rev. George B. Stevens, Ph.D., D.D., Professor in Yale University.
Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.
Homily XLI.Acts XIX. 8, 9
"And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus."
(a) See him in every place forcing his way into the synagogue, and in this manner departing thence. For in every place, he wished to have the occasion given him by them.  (c) He wished to separate the disciples thence, and to have the beginning for ceasing to assemble with them, given by (the Jews) themselves. And it was not for nothing that he did this (b) which I have said. He was henceforth "provoking them to jealousy." For both the Gentiles readily received him, and the Jews, upon the Gentiles receiving him, repented. (a) This is why he continually made a stir among them,  "for three months arguing and persuading concerning the kingdom of God:" for you must not suppose because you hear of his "speaking boldly," that there was any harshness: it was of good things that he discoursed, of a kingdom: who would not have heard him? "But when divers were hardened, speaking evil of the way." They might well call it "the way;" this was indeed the way, that led into the kingdom of heaven. "He departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this was done for the space of two years, so that all that were in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks." (v. 10.) (a) Do you mark how much was effected by his persisting?  "Both Jews and Greeks heard: (c) all that dwelt in Asia:" it was for this also that the Lord suffered him not to go into Asia (ch. xvi. 6) (on a former occasion); waiting, as it seems to me, for this same conjuncture. (Hom. xl. p. 245.) (b) "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them." (v. 11, 12.) Not touched the wearer only (and so were healed), but also receiving them, they laid them upon the sick (and so healed them).  (g) "He that believeth on Me," saith Christ, "doeth greater works than those which I do." (John xiv. 12.) This, and the miracle of the shadows is what He meant (in those words). (d) "Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth." (v. 13.) So entirely did they do all by way of trade! Observe: vagabond, or, itinerant, Jewish exorcists. And to believe indeed, they had no mind; but by that Name they wished to cast out the demons. "By Jesus, whom Paul preacheth." Only see what a name Paul had got! "And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded." (v. 14-16.) They did it in secret: then their impotence is publicly exposed. (f) Then not the Name does anything, unless it be spoken with faith. (h) See how they used their weapons against themselves! (j) So far were they from thinking Jesus to be anything great: no, they must needs add Paul, as thinking him to be something great. Here one may marvel how it was that the demon did not cooperate with the imposture of the exorcists, but on the contrary exposed them, and laid open their stage-play. He seems to me (to have done this) in exceeding wrath: just as it might be, if a person being in uttermost peril, should be exposed by some pitiful creature, and wish to vent all his rage upon him. "Jesus I know, and Paul I know." For, that there may not seem to be any slight put upon the Name of Jesus, (the demon) first confesses (Him), and then has permission given him. For, to show that it was not any weakness of the Name, but all owing to the imposture of those men, why did not the same take place in the case of Paul? "They fled out of that house naked and wounded:" he sorely battered their heads, perhaps rent their garments. (e) "And this became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, that dwelt at Ephesus, and fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many of them that had believed came confessing and making known their practices." (v. 17, 18.) For since they had got to possess such power as, by means of the demons, to do such things, well might this be the consequence. "And many of them that practised curious arts, brought their books together, and burnt them in the presence of all men;"--having seen that there was no more use of them now that the demons themselves do these things--"and reckoned up the price of them, and found the amount fifty thousand pieces of silver.  So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed." (v. 19, 20.) (i) "And"  (so) "he disputed," in the school of one Tyrannus for two years:" where were believers, and believers exceedingly (advanced in the faith). Moreover (Paul) writes (to them) as to great men.
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But see, I pray you, after such signs had been wrought, what evils within a short space ensue. Such is human nature: it soon forgets. Or, do ye not remember what has been the case among ourselves? Did not God last year shake our whole city?  Did not all run to baptism? Did not whoremongers and effeminate and corrupt persons leave their dwellings, and the places where they spent their time, and change and become religious? But three days passed, and they returned again to their own proper wickedness. And whence is this? From the excessive laziness. And what marvel if, when the things have passed away (this be the case), seeing that, the images lasting perpetually, the result is such? The fate of Sodom--say, does it not still last (in its effects)?  Well, did the dwellers beside it become any the better? And what say you to the son of Noah? Was he not such (as he is represented), did he not see with his eyes so vast a desolation, and yet was wicked? Then let us not marvel how, when such things had been done, these Jews (at Ephesus) believe not, when we see that belief itself often comes round for them into its opposite,  into malignity; as, for instance, when they say that He hath a devil, He, the Son of God! Do you not see these things even now, and how men are many of them like serpents, both faithless and thankless, men who, viper-like, when they have enjoyed benefits and have been warmed by some, then they sting their benefactors? This we have said, lest any should marvel, how, such signs having been wrought, they were not all converted. For behold, in our own times happened those (miracles) relating to the martyr Babylas,  those relating to Jerusalem, those relating to the destruction of the temples, and not all were converted. Why need I speak of ancient things? I have told you what happened last year; and none gave heed to it, but again little by little they fell off and sunk back. The heaven stands perpetually crying aloud that it has a Master, and that it is the work of an Artificer, all this that we see--I mean the world--and yet some say that it is not so. What happened to that Theodorus last year--whom did it not startle? And yet nothing came of it, but having for a season become religious, they returned to the point from which they had started in their attempt to be religious. So it was with the Jews. This is what the Prophet said of them: "When He slew them, then they sought Him, and turned early unto God." (Ps. lxxviii. 34.) And what need to speak of those things that are common to all? How many have fallen into diseases, how many have promised, if raised up, to work so great a change, and yet they have again become the same as ever! This, if nothing else, shows that we have natural free-will--our changing all at once. Were evil natural, this would not be: things that are natural and necessary, we cannot change from. "And yet," you will say, "we do change from them. For do we not see some, who have the natural faculty to see, but are blinded by fear?" (True--) because this also is natural: * * if a different (necessity of) nature come not also into operation:  (thus) it is natural to us, that being terrified we do not see; it is natural to us that when a greater fear supervenes, the other gives way. "What then," you will say, "if right-mindedness  be indeed according to nature, but fear having overpowered it cast it out?" What then if I shall show that some even then are not brought to a right mind, but even in these fears are reckless? Is this natural? Shall I speak of ancient things? Well then, of recent? How many in the midst of those fears continued laughing, mocking, and experienced nothing of the sort? Did not Pharaoh change immediately, and (as quickly) run back to his former wickedness? But here, as if (the demons) knew Him not, they (the exorcists) added, "Whom Paul preacheth," whereas they ought to have said, "the Saviour of the world." "Him that rose again." By this they show that they do know, but they did not choose to confess His glory. Wherefore the demon exposes them, leaping upon them, and saying, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?" So that not ye are believers, but ye abuse that Name when ye say this. Therefore the Temple is desolate,  the implement easy to be overcome. So that ye are not preachers; mine, says he, ye are. Great was the wrath of the demon. The Apostles had power to do this to them, but they did it not as yet. For they that had power over the demons that did these things to them, much more had power over the men themselves. Mark how their forbearance is shown, in that they whom they repulsed do these things, while the demons whom they courted do the contrary. "Jesus," says he, "I know." Be ashamed, ye that are ignorant (of Him). "And Paul I know." Well said, "Think not that it is because I despise them, that I do these things." Great was the fear of the demon. And why without these words did he not rend their garments? For so he would both have sated his wrath, and established the delusion. He feared as I said, the unapproachable force, and would not have had such power had he not said this. But observe how we find the demons everywhere more right minded (than the Jews), not daring to contradict nor accuse the Apostles, or Christ. There they say, "We know Thee who Thou art" (Matt. viii. 29); and, "Why art Thou come hither before the time to torment us" (Mark i. 24): and again, "I know Thee who Thou art, the Son of God." And here, "These men are servants of the most high God" (ch. xvi. 17): and again, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know." For they exceedingly feared and trembled before those holy persons. Perhaps some one of you, hearing of these things, wishes he were possessed of this power, so that the demons should not be able to look him in the face, and accounts those saints happy for this, that they had such power. But let him hear Christ saying, "Rejoice not because the demons are subject unto you" (Luke x. 20), because He knew that all men rejoice most in this, through vainglory. For if thou seekest that which pleaseth God, and that which is for the common good, there is another, a greater way. It is not so great to free from a demon as it is to rescue from sin. A demon hinders not to attain unto the kingdom of Heaven, nay, even cooperates, unwillingly indeed, but nevertheless cooperates by making him that has the demon more sober-minded; but sin casts a man out.
But it is likely some man will say, "God forbid it should ever befall me to be sobered in this way!" Nor do I wish it for you, but a very different way, that you should do all from love of Christ: if however, which God forbid, it should so befall you, then even on this behalf I would comfort you. If then the demon does not cast out (from the kingdom of heaven), but sin does cast out, to free a man from sin is greater beneficence.
From this let us study to free our neighbors, and before our neighbors, our own selves. Let us see to it, lest we have a demon: let us examine ourselves strictly. More grievous than a demon is sin, for the demon makes men humble. See ye not those possessed with a demon, when they have recovered from the attack, how downcast they are, of how sad a countenance, how fraught with shame their faces are, how they have not even courage to look one in the face? See the strange inconsistency! While those are ashamed on account of the things they suffer, we are not ashamed on account of the things we do; while they are abashed being wronged, we are not abashed when doing wrong: and yet their condition is not a subject for shame, but for pity and tenderness and indulgence: nay, great is the admiration it calls for, and many the praises, when struggling against such a spirit, they bear all thankfully: whereas our condition in very deed is a subject for ridicule, for shame, for accusation, for correction, for punishment, for the worst of evils, for hell-fire; calling for no compassion whatever. Seest thou, that worse than a demon is sin? And those indeed, from the ills they suffer, reap a double profit: first, their being sobered and brought to more self-control; then, that having suffered here the chastisement of their own sins, they depart hence to their Master, purified. For indeed upon this we have often discoursed to you, that those who are punished here, if they bear it thankfully, may naturally be supposed to put away thereby many of their sins. Whereas from sins the mischief resulting is twofold; first, that we offend; secondly, that we become worse. Attend to what I say. Not this is the only injury we get from sin, that we commit a sin: but another and a worse is this, that our soul receives a habit. Just as it is in the case of the body--for it will be more plain when put in the form of an example--as he who has taken a fever has got harm not only in this respect, that he is sick, but also that after the sickness he is become weaker, even though he may return to health after a long disease: just so in the case of sin, though we may regain health, yet we are far from having the strength we need. For  take the case of one who has been insolently abusive: does he not suffer his deserts for his abusive conduct? Aye, but there is another and a worse thing to rue (which is), that his soul is become more insensible to shame. For from each several sin that is committed, even after the sin has been done and has ceased, there remains a kind of venom instilled into our souls. Do you not hear people saying, when they are recovered from sickness, "I dare not drink water now?" And yet the man has regained his health: aye, but the disease has done him this harm also. And whereas those (possessed) persons, albeit suffering ill, are thankful, we, when faring well, blaspheme God, and think ourselves very ill used: for you will find more persons behaving thus in health and wealth than in poverty and sickness. For there stands the demon over (the possessed), like a very hangman, fierce, uttering many (menaces), even as a schoolmaster brandishing the lash, and not suffering them to give way to any laxity. And suppose that some are not at all brought to a sober mind, neither are these liable to punishment;  no small thing this: even as fools, even as madmen and children, are not called to account, so neither are these: since for things that are done in a state of unconsciousness, none can be so merciless as to call the doers to account. Why then, in a far worse condition than those who are possessed of evil sprits are we that sin. We do not, indeed, foam at the mouth, nor distort our eyes, or throw about our hands convulsively; but as for this, would that we did it in our body and not in our soul! Will you that I show you a soul, foaming, filthy, and a distortion of the mind's eyes? Think of those who are in a passion and drunken with rage; can any form be filthier than the words they discharge? In very deed it is like a sputtering of noisome slaver. And just as the possessed know none of those who are present, so neither do these. Their understanding darkened, their eyes distorted, they see not who is friend, who foe, who worthy of respect, who contemptible, but they see all alike without a difference. And then, do you not see them, how they tremble, just like those others? But they do not fall to the ground, say you? True, but their soul lies on the ground and falls there in convulsions: since had it stood upright, it would not have come into the condition it is in. Or think you not that it betokens a soul abjectly sprawling and lost to all self-possession, the things men can do and say when drunken with rage? There is also another form of madness worse than this. What may this be? When men cannot so much as suffer themselves to vent their anger, but instead of that nourish within their own bosoms, to their own proper hurt,  as it were a very hangman with his lash, the rancorous remembrance of wrongs. For it is a bane to themselves first, the malice that they bear. To say nothing of the things to come, what torture, think you, must that man undergo in the scourging of his soul, as day by day he looks how he may avenge himself on his enemy? He chastises himself first, and suffers punishment, swelling (with suppressed passion), fighting against himself, setting himself on fire. For needs must the fire be always burning within thee: while raising the fever to such a height, and not suffering it to wane, thou thinkest thou art inflicting some evil on the other, whereas thou art wasting thyself, ever bearing about with thee a flame which is always at its height, and not letting thy soul have rest, but evermore being in a state of fury, and having thy thoughts in a turmoil and tempest. What is more grievous than this madness, to be always smarting with pain, and ever swelling and inflamed? For such are the souls of the resentful: when they see him on whom they wish to be revenged, straightway it is as if a blow were struck them: if they hear his voice, they cower and tremble: if they be on their bed, they picture to themselves numberless revenges, hanging, torturing that enemy of theirs: and if, beside all this, they see him also to be in renown, O! the misery they suffer! Forgive him the offence, and free thyself from the torment. Why continue always in a state of punishment, that thou mayest once punish him, and take thy revenge? Why establish for thyself a hectic disease?  Why, when thy wrath would fain depart from thee, dost thou keep it back? Let it not remain until the evening, says Paul. (Eph. iv. 26.) For like some eating rot or moth, even so does it gnaw through the very root of our understanding. Why shut up a beast within thy bowels? Better a serpent or an adder to lie within thy heart, than anger and resentment: for those indeed would soon have done with us, but this remains forever fixing in us its fangs, instilling its poison, letting loose upon us an invading host of bitter thoughts. "That he should laugh me to scorn," say you, "that he should despise me!"  O wretched, miserable man, wouldest thou not be ridiculed by thy fellow-servant, and wouldest thou be hated by thy Master? Wouldest thou not be despised by thy fellow-servant, and despisest thou thy Master?
To be despised by him, is it more than thou canst bear, but thinkest thou not that God is indignant, because thou ridiculest Him, because thou despisest Him, when thou wilt not do as He bids thee? But that thine enemy will not even ridicule thee, is manifest from hence (that), whereas if thou follow up the revenge, great is the ridicule, great the contempt, for this is a mark of a little mind; on the contrary, if thou forgive him, great is the admiration, for this is a mark of greatness of soul. But you will say, he knows not this. Let God know it, that thou mayest have the greater reward. For He says, "Lend to those of whom ye hope not to receive." (Luke vi. 34.) So let us also do good to those who do not even perceive that one is doing them good, that they may not, by returning to us praise or any other thing, lessen our reward. For when we receive nothing from men, then we shall receive greater things from God. But what is more worthy of ridicule, what more paltry, than a soul which is always in anger, and wishing to take revenge? It is womanly, this disposition, it is babyish. For as the babes are angry even with lifeless things, and unless the mother beats the ground, they will not let go their anger:  so do these persons wish to revenge themselves on those who have aggrieved them. Why then, it is they who are worthy of ridicule: for to be overcome by passion, is the mark of a childish understanding, but to overcome it, is a sign of manliness. Why then, not we are the objects of ridicule, when we keep our temper, but they. It is not this that makes men contemptible--not to be conquered by passion: what makes them contemptible is this--to be so afraid of ridicule from without, as on this account to choose to subject one's self to one's besetting passion, and to offend God, and take revenge upon one's self. These things are indeed worthy of ridicule. Let us flee them. Let a man say, that having done us numberless ills, he has suffered nothing in return: let him say that he might again frantically assault us, and have nothing to fear. Why, in no other (better) way could he have proclaimed our virtue; no other words would he have sought, if he had wished to praise us, than those which he seems to say in abuse. Would that all men said these things of me: "he is a poor tame creature; all men heap insults on him, but he bears it: all men trample upon him, but he does not avenge himself." Would that they added, "neither, if he should wish to do so, can he:" that so I might have praise from God, and not from men. Let him say, that it is for want of spirit that we do not avenge ourselves. This does us no hurt, when God knows (all): it does but cause our treasure to be in greater safety. If we are to have regard to them, we shall fall away from everything. Let us not look to what they say, but to what becomes us. But, says he, "Let no man ridicule me," and some make a boast of this. O! what folly! "No man," says he, "having injured me, has ridiculed me:" that is, "I had my revenge." And yet for this thou deservest to be ridiculed, that thou didst take revenge. Whence came these words among us--being, as they are, a disgrace to us and a pest, an overthrow of our own proper life and of our discipline? It is in downright opposition to God that thou (so) speakest. The very thing which makes thee equal to God--the not avenging thyself--this thou thinkest a subject for ridicule! Are not we for these things worthy to be laughed at, both by ourselves, and by the heathen, when we thus speak against God? I wish to tell you a story of a thing that happened in the old times (which they tell) not on the subject of anger, but of money. A man had an estate in which there was a hidden treasure, unknown to the owner: this piece of ground he sold. The buyer, when digging it for the purpose of planting and cultivation, found the treasure therein deposited, and came  and wanted to oblige the seller to receive the treasure, urging that he had bought a piece of ground, not a treasure. The seller on his part repudiated the gift, saying, "The piece of ground (is not mine), I have sold it, and I have no concern whatever with this (treasure)." So they fell to altercation about it, the one wishing to give it, the other standing out against receiving it. So chancing upon some third person, they argued the matter before him, and said to him, "To whom ought the treasure to be assigned?" The man could not settle that question; he said, however, that he would put an end to their dispute--he would (if they pleased) be master of it himself. So he received the treasure, which they willingly gave up to him; and in the sequel got into troubles without end, and learnt by actual experience that they had done well to have nothing to do with it. So ought it be done likewise with regard to anger; both ourselves ought to be emulous  not to take revenge, and those who have aggrieved us, emulous to give satisfaction. But perhaps these things also seem to be matter of ridicule: for when that madness is widely prevalent among men, those who keep their temper are laughed at, and among many madmen he who is not a madman seems to be mad. Wherefore I beseech you that we may recover (from this malady), and come to our senses, that becoming pure from this pernicious passion, we may be enabled to attain unto the kingdom of heaven, through the grace and mercy of His only-begotten Son, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
"After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season. And the same time there arose no small stir about the Way."
He sends Timothy and Erastus into Macedonia, but himself remains at Ephesus. Having made a long enough stay in that city, he wishes to remove elsewhere again. But how is it, that having from the first chosen to depart into Syria, he turns back to Macedonia? "He purposed," it says, "in the Spirit," showing that all (that he did) was done not of his own power. Now he prophesies, saying, "I must also see Rome:" perhaps to comfort them with the consideration of his not remaining at a distance, but coming nearer to them again, and to arouse the minds of the disciples by the prophecy. At this point,  I suppose, it was that he wrote his Epistle to the Corinthians from Ephesus, saying, "I would not have you ignorant of the trouble which came to us in Asia." (2 Cor. i. 8.) For since he had promised to go to Corinth, he excuses himself on the score of having loitered, and mentions the trial relating the affair of Demetrius. "There arose no small stir about the Way."  Do you see the renown  (acquired)? They contradicted, it says: (then) came miracles, twofold: (then) again, danger: such is the way the threads alternate throughout the whole texture (of the history). "For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver temples of Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen." (v. 24.). "Which made," it says, "silver temples of Diana." And how is it possible that temples could be made of silver? Perhaps as small boxes (kiboria.)  Great was the honor paid to this (Diana) in Ephesus; since, when (Hom. in Eph. Prol.) their temple was burnt it so grieved them, that they forbade even the name of the incendiary ever to be mentioned. See how, wherever there is idolatry, in every case we find money at the bottom of it. Both in the former instance it was for money, and in the case of this man, for money. (ch. xix. 13.) It was not for their religion, because they thought that in danger; no, it was for their lucrative craft, that it would have nothing to work upon. Observe the maliciousness of the man. He was wealthy himself, and to him indeed it was no such great loss; but to them the loss was great, since they were poor, and subsisted on their daily earnings. Nevertheless, these men say nothing, but only he. And observe:  "Whom having collected, and the workmen of like occupation," having themselves common cause with him, "he said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth" (v. 25); then he brought the danger home to them, that we are in danger of falling from this our craft into starvation. "Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: so that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at naught; but also, that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians." (v. 26-28.) And yet the very things he spoke were enough to bring them to true religion: but being poor senseless creatures, this is the part they act. For if this (Paul being) man is strong enough to turn away all, and the worship of the gods is in jeopardy, one ought to reflect, how great must this man's God be, and that he will much more give you those things, for which ye are afraid. Already (at the outset) he has secured a hold upon their minds by saying, "This Paul hath turned away much people, saying, that they be no gods, which are made with men's hands." See what it is that the heathen are so indignant at; because he said that "they which be made of men are no gods." Throughout, he drives his speech at their craft. Then that which most grieved them he brings in afterwards. But, with the other gods, he would say, we have no concern, but that "the temple also of the great goddess Diana is in danger to be destroyed." Then, lest he should seem to say this for the sake of lucre, see what he adds: "Whom the whole world worshippeth." Observe how he showed Paul's power to be the greater, proving all (their gods) to be wretched and miserable creatures, since a mere man, who was driven about, a mere tentmaker, had so much power. Observe the testimonies borne to the Apostles by their enemies, that they overthrew their worship.  There (at Lystra) they brought "garlands and oxen." (ch. xiv. 13.) Here he says, "This our craft is in danger to be set at naught.--Ye have filled (all) everywhere with your doctrine." (ch. v. 28.) So said the Jews also with regard to Christ: "Ye see how the world is going after Him" (John xii. 19); and, "The Romans shall come and take away our city." (ch. xi. 48). And again on another occasion, "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also." (ch. xvii. 6).--"And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath." Upon what was that wrath called forth? On hearing about Diana, and about their source of gain. "And cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the whole city was filled with confusion: and rushed with one accord into the theatre." (v. 29). Such is the way with vulgar minds, any trivial occasion shall hurry them away and inflame their passions. Therefore  it behooves to do (things) with (strict) examination. But see how contemptible they were, to be so exposed to all (excitements)! "Having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they dragged them:" (here) again recklessly, just as did the Jews in the case of Jason; and everywhere they set upon them.  "And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not," (v. 30) so far were they from all display and love of glory. "And certain of the Asiarchs, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre" (v. 31) to a disorderly populace and tumult. And Paul complies, for he was not vainglorious, nor ambitious. "Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused." Such is the nature of the multitude: it recklessly follows, like fire when it has fallen upon fuel; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together." (v. 32.) "And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward." It was the Jews that thrust him forward;  but as providence ordered it, this man did not speak. "And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people." (v. 33.) "But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians." (v. 34.) A childish understanding indeed! as if they were afraid, lest their worship should be extinguished, they shouted without intermission. For two years had Paul abode there, and see how many heathen there were still! "And when the town clerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is temple-keeper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?" (v. 35.) As if the thing were not palpable. With this saying first he extinguished their wrath. "And of the Diopetes." There was another sacred object (hieron) that was so called. Either he means the piece of burnt earth or her image.   This (is) a lie. "Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess." (v. 36, 37.) All this however he says to the people; but in order that those (workmen) also might become more reasonable, he says: "Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsman which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. But if ye enquire anything concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause, for which (matter) we shall not be able to give an account for this concourse." (v. 38-40.) "A lawful assembly," he says, for there were three assemblies according to law in each month; but this one was contrary to law. Then he terrified them also by saying, "We are in danger to be called to account" for sedition. But let us look again at the things said.
(Recapitulation.) "After these things were ended," it says, "Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem," saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome." (v. 21.) He no longer speaks here after the manner of a man,  or, He purposed to pass through those regions, without tarrying longer. Wherefore does he send away Timothy and Erastus? Of this I suppose he says, "Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone. He sent away," it says, "two of those who ministered to him" (1 Thess. iii. 1), both to announce his coming, and to make them more eager. "But he himself tarried awhile in Asia." (v. 22.) Most of all does he pass his time in Asia; and with reason: there, namely, was the tyranny, of the philosophers.  (Afterwards) also he came and discoursed to them again. "And the same time" etc. (v. 23), for indeed the superstition was excessive. (a) "Ye both see and hear," so palpable was the result that was taking place--"that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul by persuading hath turned away," not by violence: this is the way to persuade a city. Then, what touched them closely, "that they be no gods which are made with hands." (v. 26.) He overturns, says he, our craft: (e) "From this work we have our wealth. Hath persuaded." How  did he persuade--he, a man of mean consideration? How prevail over so great a force of habit? by doing what--by saying what? It is not for a Paul (to effect this), it is not for a man. Even this is enough, that he said, "They are no gods." Now if the impiety (of the heathen religions) was so easy to detect, it ought to have been condemned long ago: if it was strong, it ought not to have been overthrown so quickly. (b) For, lest they should consider within themselves (how strange), that a human being should have such power as this, and if a human being has power to effect such things, why then one ought to be persuaded by that man, he adds: (f) "not only is this our craft in danger to be set at naught, but also," as if forsooth alleging a greater consideration, "the temple of the great goddess Diana," etc. (c) "whom all Asia and the world worshippeth." (v. 27.) (g) "And when they heard, they were filled with wrath, and shouted, Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" (v. 28.) For each city had its proper gods. (d) They thought to make their voice a barrier against the Divine Spirit. Children indeed, these Greeks! (h) And their feeling was as if by their voice they could reinstate the worship of her, and undo what had taken place! "And the whole city," etc. (v. 29.) See a disorderly multitude! "And when Paul," etc. (v. 30.) Paul then wished to enter in that he might harangue them: for he took his persecutions as occasions for teaching: "but the disciples suffered him not." Mark, how great forethought we always find them taking for him. At the very first they brought him out that they might not (in his person) receive a mortal blow; and yet they had heard him say, "I must also see Rome." But it was providential that he so predicts beforehand, that they might not be confounded at the event. But they would not that he should even suffer any evil. "And certain of the Asiarchs besought him that he would not enter into the theatre." Knowing his eagerness, they "besought him:" so much did all the believers love him.--"And they drew Alexander," etc. (v. 33.) This Alexander, why did he wish to plead? Was he accused? No, but it was to find an opportunity, and overturn the whole matter, and inflame  the anger of the people. "But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians." (v. 34.) Do you mark the inordinate rage? Well, and with rebuke does the town clerk say, "What man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians--" (v. 35) (coming to the point) which they were frightened about. Is it this,  says he, that ye do not worship her? And he does not say, "That knoweth not" Diana, but, "our city," that it always worshipped her.  "Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against." (v. 36.) Why then do ye make a question about them, as if these things were not plain? (b) Then he quietly chides them, showing that they had come together without reason. "And to do nothing rashly," he says. Showing that they had acted rashly. (a) "For ye have brought hither," etc. (v. 37.) They wanted to make religion the pretext for what concerned their own money-making: (c) and it was not right on account of private charges to hold a public assembly. For he put them to a nonplus, and left them not a word to say for themselves.  "There being no cause," he says, "for this concourse, for which" (matter) "we shall not  be able to give the account." (v. 40.) See how prudently, how cleverly, the unbelievers (act). Thus he extinguished their wrath. For as it is easily kindled, so also is it easily extinguished. "And when he had thus spoken," it says, "he dismissed the assembly." (v. 41.)
Seest thou how God permits trials, and by them stirs up and awakens the disciples, and makes them more energetic? Then let us not sink down under trials: for He Himself will "also make the way of escape, that we may be able to bear them." (1 Cor x. 13.) Nothing so makes friends, and rivets them so firmly, as affliction: nothing so fastens and compacts the souls of believers: nothing is so seasonable for us teachers in order that the things said by us may be heard. For the hearer when he is in ease is listless and indolent, and seems to suffer annoyance from the speaker: but when he is in affliction and distress, he falls into a great longing for the hearing. For when distressed in his soul, he seeks on all sides to find comfort for his affliction: and the preaching brings no small comfort. "What then," you will say, "of the Jews? How was it that in consequence of their weakheartedness, they did not hear?" Why, they were Jews, those ever weak and miserable creatures: and besides, the affliction in their case was great, but we speak of affliction in moderation. For observe: they expected to be freed from the evils that encompassed them, and they fell into numberless greater evils: now this is no common distress to the soul. Afflictions cut us off from the sympathy we have for the present world, as appears in this, that we wish for death immediately, and cease to be loving of the body: which very thing is the greatest part of wisdom, to have no hankering, no ties to the present life. The soul which is afflicted does not wish to be concerned about many things: repose and stillness are all it desired, content for its part to have done with the things present, even though there be nothing else to follow. As the body when wearied and distressed does not wish to indulge in amours, or gormandizing, but only to repose and lie down in quiet; so the soul, harassed  by numberless evils, is urgent to be at rest and quiet. The soul which is at ease is (apt to be) fluttered, alarmed, unsettled: whereas in this there is no vacuity, no running to waste: and the one is more manly, the other more childish; the one has more gravity, in the other more levity. And as some light substance, when it falls upon deep water, is tossed to and fro, just so is the soul when it falls into great rejoicing. Moreover, that our greatest faults arise out of overmuch pleasure, any one may see. Come, if you will, let us represent to ourselves two houses, the one where people are marrying, the other where they are mourning: let us enter in imagination into each: let us see which is better than the other. Why, that of the mourner will be found full of seriousness (philosophias); that of the marrying person, full of indecency. For look, (here are) shameful words, unrestrained laughter, more unrestrained motions, both dress and gait full of indecency, words fraught with mere nonsense and foolery: in short, all is ridicule there, all ridiculous.  I do not say the marriage is this; God forbid; but the accompaniments of the marriage. Then nature is beside itself in excess of riot. Instead of human beings, those present become brute creatures, some neighing like horses, others kicking like asses: such utter license, such dissolute unrestraint: nothing serious, nothing noble: (it is) the devil's pomp, cymbals, and pipes, and songs teeming with fornication and adultery. But not so in that house where there is mourning; all is well-ordered there: such silence, such repose, such composure; nothing disorderly, nothing extravagant: and if any one does speak, every word he utters is fraught with true philosophy: and then the wonderful circumstance is, that at such times not men only, but even servants and women speak like philosophers--for such is the nature of sorrow--and while they seem to be consoling the mourner, they in fact utter numberless truths full of sound philosophy. Prayers are there to begin with, that the affliction may stop there, and go no further: many a one comforting the sufferer, and recitals without number of the many who have the like cause for mourning. "For what is man?" (they ask) (and thereupon) a serious examination of our nature--"aye, then, what is man!" (and upon this) an impeachment of the life (present) and its worthlessness, a reminding (one another) of things to come, of the Judgment. (So from both these scenes) each returns home: from the wedding, grieved, because he himself is not in the enjoyment of the like good fortune; from the mourning, light-hearted, because he has not himself undergone the like affliction, and having all his inward fever quenched. But what will you? Shall we take for another contrast the prisons and the theatres? For the one is a place of suffering, the other of pleasure. Let us again examine. In the former there is seriousness of mind; for where there is sadness, there must needs be seriousness. He who aforetime was rich, and inflated with his own importance, now will even suffer any common person to converse with him, fear and sorrow, like some mightier fire, having fallen on his soul, and softening down his harshness: then he becomes humble, then of a sad countenance, then he feels the changes of life, then he bears up manfully against everything. But in a theatre all is the reverse of this--laughter, ribaldry, devil's pomp, dissoluteness, waste of time, useless spending of days, planning for extravagant lust, adultery made a study of, practical training to fornication, schooling in intemperance, encouragement to filthiness, matter for laughter, patterns for the practice of indecency. Not so the prison: there you will find humbleness of mind, exhoration, incentive to seriousness, contempt of worldly things; (these) are all trodden under foot and spurned and, fear stands over (the man there), as a schoolmaster over a child, controlling him to all his duties. But if you will, let us examine in a different way.  I should like you to meet a man on his return from a theatre, and another coming out of prison; and while you would see the soul of the one fluttered, perturbed, actually tied and bound, that of the other you would see enlarged, set free, buoyant as on wings. For the one returns from the theatre, enfettered by the sight of the women there, bearing about chains harder than any iron, the scenes, the words, the gestures, that he saw there. But the other on his return from the prison, released from all (bounds), will no longer think that he suffers any evil as comparing his own case with that of (those) others. (To think) that he is not in bonds will make him thankful ever after; he will despise human affairs, as seeing so many rich men there in calamity, men (once) having power to do many and great things, and now lying bound there: and if he should suffer anything unjustly, he will bear up against this also; for of this too there were many examples there: he will be led to reflect upon the Judgment to come and will shudder, seeing here  (in the earthly prison) how it will be there. For as it is with one here shut up in prison, so in that world also before the Judgment, before the Day that is to come. Towards wife, children, and servants, he will be more gentle.
Not so he that comes from the theatre: he will look upon his wife with more dislike, he will be peevish with his servants, bitter towards his children, and savage towards all. Great are the evils theatres cause to cities, great indeed, and we do not even know that they are great. Shall we examine other scenes of laughter also, I mean the feasts, with their parasites, their flatterers, and abundance of luxury, and (compare with them) places where are the halt and blind? As before, in the former is drunkenness, luxury, and dissoluteness, in the latter the reverse.--See also with regard to the body, when it is hot-blooded, when it is in good case, it undergoes the quickest change to sickness: not so, when it has been kept low. Then let me make my meaning clearer to you:--let there be a body having plenty of blood, plenty of flesh, plump with good living: this body will be apt even from any chance food to engender a fever, if it be simply idle. But let there be another, struggling rather with hunger and hardship: this is not easily overcome, not easily wrestled down by disease. Blood, though it may be healthy in us, does often by its very quantity engender disease: but if it be small in quantity, even though it be not healthy, it can be easily worked off. So too in the case of the soul, that which leads an easy, luxurious life, has its impulses quickly swayed to sin: for such a soul is next neighbor to folly, to pleasure, to vainglory also, and envy, and plottings, and slanderings. Behold this great city of ours, what a size it is! Whence arise the evils? is it not from those who are rich? is it not from those who are in enjoyment? Who are they that "drag" men "before the tribunals?" Who, that dissipate properties? Those who are wretched and outcasts, or those who are inflated with consequence, and in enjoyment? It is not possible that any evil can happen from a soul that is afflicted. (James ii. 6.) Paul knew the gain of this: therefore he says, "Tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed." (Rom. v. 3.) Then let us not sink in our afflictions, but in all things give thanks, that so we may get great gain, that we may be well-pleasing to God, who permits afflictions. A great good is affliction: and we learn this from our own children: for without affliction (a boy) would learn nothing useful. But we, more than they, need affliction. For if there, when the passions (as yet) are quiet, (chastisement) benefits them, how much more us, especially possessed as we are by so many! Nay, we behoove rather to have schoolmasters than they: since the faults of children cannot be great, but ours are exceeding great. Our schoolmaster is affliction. Let us then not draw it down willingly upon ourselves, but when it is come let us bear it bravely, being, as it is, always the cause of numberless good things; that so we may both obtain grace from God, and the good things which are laid up for them that love Him, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and evermore, world without end. Amen.
"And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia."
There was need of much comforting after that uproar. Accordingly, having done this, he goes into Macedonia, and then into Greece. For, it says, "when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, and there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia." (v. 2, 3.) Again he is persecuted by the Jews, and goes into Macedonia. "And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. These going before tarried for us at Troas." (v. 4, 5.) But how does he call Timothy a man "of Thessalonica?"  This is not his meaning, but, "Of Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus and Gaius: of Derbe, Timothy,"  etc., these, he says, went before him to Troas, preparing the way for him. "And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days." (v. 6.) For it seems to me that he made a point of keeping the feasts in the large cities. "From Philippi," where the affair of the prison had taken place. This was his third coming into Macedonia, and it is a high testimony that he bears to the Philippians, which is the reason why he makes some stay there. "And upon the day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight." (v. 7.) It was then the (season between Easter and) Pentecost.  See how everything was subordinate to the preaching. It was also, it says, the Lord's day.  Not even during night-time was he silent, nay he discoursed the rather then, because of stillness. Mark how he both made a long discourse, and beyond the time of supper itself. But the Devil disturbed the feast--not that he prevailed, however--by plunging the hearer in sleep, and causing him to fall down. "And," it says, "there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him, said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted." (v. 8-12.) But observe, I pray you, the theatre, how crowded it was: and the miracle, what it was. "He was sitting in a window," at dead of night. Such was their eagerness to hear him! Let us take shame to ourselves! "Aye, but a Paul" say you, "was discoursing then." Yes, and Paul discourses now, or rather not Paul, either then or now, but Christ, and yet none cares to hear. No window in the case now, no importunity of hunger, or sleep, and yet we do not care to hear: no crowding in a narrow space here, nor any other such comfort. And the wonderful circumstance is, that though he was a youth, he was not listless and indifferent; and though (he felt himself) weighed down by sleep, he did not go away,  nor yet fear the danger of falling down. It was not from listlessness that he slumbered, but from necessity of nature. But observe, I beseech you, so fervent was their zeal, that they even assembled in a third loft: for they had not a Church yet. "Trouble not yourselves," he says. He said not, "He shall come to life again, for I will raise him up:" but mark the unassuming way in which he comforts them: "for his life," says he, "is in him. When he was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten." This thing cut short the discourse; it did no harm, however. "When he had eaten," it says, "and discoursed a long while, even till break of day, so he departed." Do you mark the frugality of the supper? Do you observe how they passed the whole night? Such were their meals, that the hearers came away sober, and fit for hearing. But we, in what do we differ from dogs? Do you mark what a difference (between us and those men)? "And they brought the young man alive, and," it says, "were not a little comforted," both because they received him back alive, and because a miracle had been wrought.  "And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Thasos,  there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot." (v. 13.) We often find Paul parting from the disciples. For behold again, he himself goes afoot: giving them the easier way, and himself choosing the more painful. He went afoot, both that he might arrange many matters, and by way of training them to bear a parting from him.  "And when he had joined us at Thasos, having taken him on board, we came to Mytilene; and having sailed thence on the morrow, we come over against Chios"--then they pass the island--"and on the next day we touched at Samos, and having stopped at Trogylium, on the following day we came to Miletus. For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be in Jerusalem the day of Pentecost." (v. 14-16.) Why this haste? Not for the sake of the feast, but of the multitude. At the same time, by this he conciliated the Jews, as being one that did honor the feasts, wishing to gain even his adversaries: at the same time also he delivers the word.  Accordingly, see what great gain accrued, from all being present. But that the interests of the people of Ephesus might not be neglected on that account, he managed for this in a different way. But let us look over again what has been said.
(Recapitulation.) "And having embraced them," it says, "he departed for to go into Macedonia." (v. 1.) By this again he refreshed them (anektesato), giving them much consolation. "And having exhorted" the Macedonians, "with much discourse, he came into Greece." (v. 2.) Observe how we everywhere find him accomplishing all by means of preaching, not by miracles. "And we, sailed," etc. The writer constantly shows him to us as hasting to get to Syria; and the reason of it was the Church, and Jerusalem, but still he restrained his desire, so as to set all right in those parts also.  And yet Troas is not a large place: why then do they pass seven days in it? Perhaps it was large as regarded the number of believers. And after he had passed seven days there, on the following day he spent the night in teaching: so hard did he find it to tear himself away from them, and they from him. "And when we came together" it says, "to break bread." (v. 7-12.) At the very time (of breaking bread) the discourse having taken its commencement,* extended:  as representing that they were hungry, and it was not unseasonable: for the principal object (which brought them together) was not teaching, but they came together "to break bread;" discourse however having come up, he prolonged the teaching. See how all partook also at Paul's table. It seems to me, that he discoursed while even sitting at table, teaching us to consider all other things as subordinate to this. Picture to yourselves, I beseech you, that house with its lights, with its crowd, with Paul in the midst, discoursing, with even the windows occupied by many: what a thing it was to see, and to hear that trumpet, and behold that gracious countenance!  But why did he discourse during night time? Since "he was about to depart," it says, and was to see them no more: though this indeed he does not tell them, they being too weak (to bear it), but he did tell it to the others. At the same time too the miracle which took place would make them evermore to remember that evening; so that the fall turned out to the advantage of the teacher. Great was the delight of the hearers, and even when interrupted it was the more increased. That (young man) was to rebuke all that are careless (of the word), he whose death was caused by nothing else than this, that he wished to hear Paul. "And we went before to ship," etc. (v. 13.) Wherefore does the writer say where they came, and where they went to? To show in the first place that he was making the voyage more leisurely--and this upon human grounds--and sailing past (some): also (for the same reason he tells) where he made a stay, and what parts he sailed past; (namely,) "that he might not have to spend the time in Asia." (v. 16.) Since had he come there, he could not have sailed by; he did not like to pain those who would have begged him to remain. "For he hasted," it says, "if it were possible for him to keep the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem:" and (this) was not possible (if he stayed). Observe, how he is also moved like other men. For therefore it is that all this is done, that we may not fancy that he was above human nature: (therefore) you see him desiring (something), and hasting, and in many instances not obtaining (his object): for those great and holy men were partakers of the same nature with us; it was in the will and purpose that they differed, and so it was that also they attracted upon themselves the great grace they did. See, for instance, how many things they order by an economy of their own. "That we give not offence" (2 Cor. vi. 3) to those who wish (to take offence), and, "That our ministry be not blamed." Behold, both an irreproachable life and on the other hand condescension. This is (indeed to be) called economy, to the (very) summit and height (of it).  For he that went beyond the commandments of Christ, was on the other hand more humble than all. "I am made all things to all men," he says, "that I might gain all." (1 Cor. ix. 22.) He cast himself also upon dangers, as he says in another place; "In much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments." (2 Cor. vi. 4, 5.) And great was his love for Christ. For if there be not this, all else is superfluous, both the economy (of condescending accommodation), and the irreproachable life, and the exposing himself to dangers. "Who is weak," he says, "and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not?" (2 Cor. xi. 29.) These words let us imitate, and let us cast ourselves upon dangers for our brethren's sake. Whether it be fire, or the sword, cast thyself on it, beloved, that thou mayest rescue (him that is) thy member: cast thyself, be not afraid. Thou art a disciple of Christ, Who laid down His life for His brethren: a fellow-disciple with Paul, who chose to suffer numberless ills for his enemies, for men that were warring against him; be thou filled with zeal, imitate Moses. He saw one suffering wrong, and avenged him; he despised royal luxury, and for the sake of those who were afflicted he became a fugitive, a wanderer, lonely and deserted; he passed his days in a foreign land; and yet he blamed not himself, nor said, "What is this? I despised royalty, with all that honor and glory: I chose to avenge those who were wronged, and God hath overlooked me: and not only hath He not brought me back to my former honor, but even forty years am I passing in a foreign land. Truly, handsomely  have I received my wages, have I not!" But nothing of the kind did he say or think. So also do thou: be it that thou suffer any evil for doing good, be it that (thou have to wait) a long time, be not thou offended, be not discomposed: God will of a surety give thee thy reward. The more the recompense is delayed, the more is the interest of it increased. Let us have a soul apt to sympathize, let us have a heart that knows how to feel with others in their sorrows: no unmerciful temper (omon), no inhumanity.
Though thou be able to confer no relief, yet weep thou, groan, grieve over what has happened: even this is not to no purpose. If it behooves us to feel for those who are justly punished by God, much more for those who suffer unjustly at the hands of men. (They of) "Ænan,"  it saith, "came not forth to mourn for the house which was near her" (Micah i. 11): they shall receive pain, "in return for that they built for derision." And again, Ezekiel makes this an accusation against them, that they did not grieve for (the afflicted). (Ezek. xvi. 2.) What sayest thou, O Prophet? God punisheth, and shall I grieve for those that He is punishing? Yea verily: for God Himself that punisheth wisheth this: since neither does He Himself wish to punish, nay, even Himself grieves when punishing. Then be not thou glad at it. You will say, "If they are justly punished, we ought not to grieve." Why, the thing we ought to grieve for is this--that they were found worthy of punishment. Say, when thou seest thy son undergoing cautery or the knife, dost thou not grieve? and sayest thou not to thyself, "What is this? It is for health this cutting, to quicken his recovery; it is for his deliverance, this burning?" but for all that, when thou hearest him crying out, and not able to bear the pain, thou grievest, and the hope of health being restored is not enough to carry off the shock to nature. So also in the case of these, though it be in order to their health that they are punished, nevertheless let us show a brotherly feeling, a fatherly disposition. They are cuttings and cauteries, the punishments sent by God: but it is for this we ought to weep, that they were sick, that they needed such a mode of cure. If it be for crowns that any suffer these things, then grieve not; for instance, as Paul, as Peter suffered: but when it is for punishment that one suffers justice, then weep, then groan. Such was the part the prophets acted; thus one of them said, "Ah! Lord, dost thou destroy the residue of Israel?" (Ezek. ix. 8.) We see men-slayers, wicked men, suffering punishment, and we are distressed, and grieve for them. Let us not be philosophical beyond measure: let us show ourselves pitiful, that we may be pitied; there is nothing equal to this beautiful trait: nothing so marks to us the stamp of human nature as the showing pity, as the being kind to our fellow-men. In fact, therefore do the laws consign to public executioners the whole business of punishment: having compelled the judge to punish so far as to pronounce the sentence, thereafter they call forth those to perform the act itself. So true is it, that though it be justly done, it is not the part of a generous (philosophou) soul to inflict punishment, but it requires another sort of person for this: since even God punishes not by His own hand, but by means of the angels. Are they then executioners, the angels? God forbid: I say not this, but they are avenging powers. When Sodom was destroyed, the whole was done by them as the instruments: when the judgments in Egypt were inflicted, it was through them. For, "He sent," it says, "evil angels among them." (Psalm lxxviii. 50.) But when there is need of saying, God does this by Himself: thus, He sent the Son:--(b) but,  "He that receiveth you, receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent Me." (Matt. x. 40.) (a) And again He saith, "Then will I say unto the angels, Gather together them that do iniquity, and cast them into the furnace." (Matt. xiii. 30, 41, 42.) But concerning the just, not so. (c) And again, "Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness." (Matt. xxii. 13.) Observe how in that case His servants minister: but when the point is to do good, see Himself doing the good, Himself calling: "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you." (Matt. xxv. 34.) When the matter is, to converse with Abraham, then Himself comes to him: when it is, to depart to Sodom, He sends His servants, like a judge raising up those who are to punish. "Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things" (Matt. xxv. 21); I (will make thee): but that other, not Himself, but His servants bind. Knowing these things, let us not rejoice over those who are suffering punishment, but even grieve: for these let us mourn, for these let us weep, that for this also we may receive a reward. But now, many rejoice even over those who suffer evil unjustly. But not so, we: let us show all sympathy: that we also may have God vouchsafed us, through the grace and mercy of His only-begotten Son, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
"And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the Church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
See him, hasting to sail by, and yet not overlooking them, but taking order for all. Having sent for the rulers, through those he discourses to them (the Ephesians): but it is worthy of admiration, how finding himself under a necessity of saying certain great things about himself, he tries to make the least he can of it (peirhata metriazein). "Ye know." For just as Samuel, when about to deliver up the government to Saul says in their presence, "Have I taken aught of your hands? Ye are witnesses, and God also" (1 Sam. xii. 3, 5); (so Paul here). David also, when disbelieved, says, "I was with the flock keeping my father's sheep: and when the bear came, I scared her away with my hands" (1 Sam. xvii. 34, 35): and Paul himself too says to the Corinthians, "I am become a fool; ye have compelled me." (2 Cor. xii. 11.) Nay, God Himself also does the same, not speaking of himself upon any and every occasion, but only when He is disbelieved, then He brings up His benefits. Accordingly, see what Paul does here: first he adduces their own testimony: that you may not imagine his words to be mere boasting, he calls the hearers themselves as witnesses of the things he says, since he was not likely to speak lies in their presence. This is the excellence of a teacher, to have for witnesses of his merits those who are his disciples. And what is wonderful, Not for one day nor for two, says he, have I continued doing this. He wishes to cheer them for the future, that they may bravely bear all things, both the parting from him, and the trials about to take place--just as it was in the case of Moses and Joshua. And see how he begins: "How I have been with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility of mind." Observe, what most becomes rulers: "hating pride" (Exod. xviii. 21, LXX.), says (Moses): which (qualification) is especially in point for rulers, because to them there is (almost) a necessity of becoming arrogant. This (humility) is the groundwork of all that is good, as in fact Christ saith,  "Blessed are the poor in spirit." (Matt. v. 3.) And (here) not simply, "with humility of mind," but, "with all humility." For there are many kinds of humility, in word and in action, towards rulers, and toward the ruled. Will you that I mention to you some kinds of humility? There are some who are lowly towards those who are lowly, and high towards the high: this is not the character of humility.  Some then are such. Then, that he may not seem to be arrogant, he lays a foundation beforehand, removing that suspicion: For, "if, says he, I have acted `with all humility of mind,' it is not from arrogance that I say the things I say." Then for his gentleness, ever with much condescension making them his fellows. "With you," he says, "have I been, serving the Lord;" he makes the good works common to them with himself: none of it his own peculiar. "What?" (you will say) "why, against God could he possibly bear himself arrogantly?" And yet there are many who do bear themselves arrogantly against God: but this man not even against his own disciples. This is the merit of a teacher, by his own achievements of virtue to form the character of his disciples. Then for his fortitude, upon which also he is very concise. "With many tears," he says, "and temptations which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews." Do you see that he grieves at their doings? But here too he seems to show how sympathizing he was: for he suffered for those who were going to perdition, for the doers themselves: what was done to himself, he even rejoiced at it; for he belonged to that band which "rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for that Name" (Acts v. 41): and again he says, "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you" (Col. i. 24): and again, "For our light affliction, which is but for the moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." (2 Cor. iv. 17). These things, however, he says, by way of making the least of his merits (metriazon). But there he show his fortitude, not so much of daring, as of enduring: "I," says he, "have been evil entreated, but it was with you: and what is indeed the grievous part of the business, at the hands of Jews." Observe, he puts here both love and fortitude. Mark, here, I pray you, a character of teaching: "I kept back nothing," he says, ungrudging fulness, unshrinking promptness--"of what was profitable unto you:" because there were things which they did not need to learn. For as the hiding some things would have been like grudging, so the saying all things would be folly. This is why he adds, "that was profitable unto you. But have showed you, and have taught you:" have not only said, but also taught: not doing this either as a mere matter of form. For that this is what he means, observe what he says: "publicly, and from house to house:" thereby representing the exceeding toil, the great earnestness and endurance. "Both Jews, and Greeks." Not (addressing myself) to you alone. "Testifying:" here, the boldness of speech: and that, even though we do no good, yet we must speak: for  this is the meaning of "testifying," when we speak to those who do not pay attention: and so the word diamarturasthai is for the most part used. "I call heaven and earth to witness" (Deut. iv. 26), diamarturomai, Moses says: and now Paul himself, Diamarturomenos "both to Jews and Greeks repentance toward God." What testifiest thou? That they should be careful about their manner of life: that they should repent, and draw near to God. "Both to Jews and Greeks"--for neither did the Jews know Him--both  by reason of their works, he says, "repentance towards God," and, by reason that they knew not the Son, he adds, "and faith in the Lord Jesus." To what end, then, sayest thou these things? to what end dost thou put them in mind of them? What has come of it? hast thou anything to lay to their charge? Having first alarmed their feeling, then he adds, "And now, behold, I go bound in the Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God." (v. 22-24). Wherefore says he this? By way of preparing them to be always ready to meet dangers, whether seen or unseen, and in all things to obey the Spirit.  He shows that it is for great objects that he is led away from them. "Save that the Holy Ghost," he says, "in every city witnesseth to me saying"--to show that he departs willingly; that (see Hom. xlv. p. 273) you may not imagine it any bond or necessity, when he says, "bound in the Spirit--that in every city bonds and afflictions await me." Then also he adds this, "I count not my life dear, until I shall have fulfilled my course and the ministry, which I received of the Lord Jesus." Until I shall have finished my course, says he, with joy. Do you mark how (clearly) these were the words not of one lamenting, but of one who forbore to make the most (of his troubles) (metriazontos), of one who would instruct those (whom he addressed), and sympathize with them in the things which were befalling He says not, "I grieve indeed,  but one must needs bear it:" "but," says he, "of none of those things do I make account, neither do I have," i.e. account "my life dear to me." Why this again? not to extol himself, but to teach them, as by the former words, humility, so by these, fortitude and boldness: "I have it not precious," i.e. "I love it not before this: I account it more precious to finish my course, to testify." And he says not, "to preach," "to teach"--but what says he? "to testify (diamarturasthai)--the Gospel of the grace of God." He is about to say something more uncomfortable (phortikoteron), namely, "I am pure from the blood of all men (because on my part) there is nothing lacking:" he is about to lay upon them the whole weight and burden: so he first mollifies their feelings by saying, "And now behold I know that ye shall see my face no more." The consolation  is twofold: both that "my face ye shall see no more," for in heart I am with you: and that it was not they alone (who should see him no more): for, "ye shall see my face no more, ye all, among whom I have gone about preaching the Kingdom."  So that he may well (say), "Wherefore I take you to record (read dio mart. for diamart.),--seeing I shall be with you no more--"that I am pure from the blood of all men." (v. 26.) Do you mark how he terrifies them, and troubled and afflicted as their souls are, how hard he rubs them (epitribei)? But it was necessary. "For I have not shunned," he says, "to declare unto you all the counsel of God." (v. 27.) Why then, he who does not speak, has blood to answer for: that is, murder! Nothing could be more terrifying than this. He shows that they also, if they do it not, have blood to answer for. So, whereas he seems to be justifying himself, in fact he is terrifying them. "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers (or, bishops) to feed the Church of God (see note 3), which He hath purchased with His own blood." (v. 28.) Do you mark? he enjoins them two things. Neither success in bringing others right of itself is any gain--for, I fear, he says, "lest by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away" (1 Cor. ix. 27); nor the being diligent for one's self alone. For such an one is selfish, and seeks his own good only, and is like to him who buried his talent. "Take heed to yourselves:" this he says, not because our own salvation is more precious than that of the flock, but because, when we take heed to ourselves, then the flock also is a gainer. "In which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God." See, it is from the Spirit ye have your ordination. This is one constraint: then he says, "To feed the Church of the Lord."  Lo! another obligation: the Church is the Lord's.  And a third: "which He hath purchased with His own blood." It shows  how precious the concern is; that the peril is about no small matters, seeing that even His own blood He spared not. He indeed, that he might reconcile those who were enemies, poured out even His blood: but thou, even when they are become thy friends, art not able to retain them. "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock." (v. 29.) Again he engages (epistrephei) them from another quarter, from the things which should come after: as when he says, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood. After my departing," he says, "grievous wolves shall enter in among you" (Eph. vi. 12); twofold the evil, both that he himself would not be present, and that others would assail them. "Then why depart, if thou knowest this beforehand?" The Spirit draws me, he says. Both "wolves," and "grievous, not sparing the flock;" and what is worse, even "from among your own selves:" the grievous thing (this), when the war is moreover an intestine war. The matter is exceeding serious, for it is "the Church of the Lord:" great the peril for with blood He redeemed it: mighty the war, and twofold. "Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." (v. 30.) "How then? what comfort shall there be?" "Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." (v. 31.) See how many strong expressions are here: "with tears," and "night and day," and "every one." For it was not that if he saw many,  then he came in (to the work), but even were it for a single soul, he was capable of doing everything (for that one soul). So it was, in fact, that he compacted them together (sunekrotesen) (so firmly as he did). "Enough done on my part: three years have I remained:" they had establishing enough, he says; enough of roofing. "With tears," he says. Seest thou that the tears were on this account? The bad man grieves not: grieve thou: perhaps he will grieve also. As, when the sick man sees his physician partaking of food, he also is incited to do the same: so likewise here, when he sees thee weeping, he is softened: he will be a good and great man. 
(Recapitulation.) "Not knowing," he says, "the things that shall befall me." (v. 22, 23.) Then is this why thou departest? By no means; on the contrary (I know that), "bonds and afflictions await me." That (there are) trials, I know, but of what kind I know not: which was more grievous. "But none of these things move me" (v. 24): for do not suppose that I say these things as lamenting them: for "I hold not my own life dear." It is to raise up their minds that he says all this, and to persuade them not only not to flee, but also to bear nobly. Therefore it is that he calls it a "course" and a "ministry," on the one hand, showing it to be glorious from its being a race, on the other, showing what was due from it, as being a ministry. I am a minister: nothing more. Having comforted them, that they might not grieve that he was so evil entreated, and having told them that he endured those things "with joy," and having shown the fruits of them, then (and not before) he brings in that which would give them pain, that he may not overwhelm their minds. "And  now behold," etc. "Wherefore I take you to record, that I am pure from the blood of all men, because I have not shrunk from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God" (v. 25-27): * * * that (counsel) which concerns the present matter. "For I know this," etc. (v. 29.) "What then," someone might say, "thinkest thou thyself so great? if thou shouldest depart, are we to die?" I say not this, he replies, that my absence causeth this: but what? That there should rise up against you certain of another sort: he says not, "because of my departing," but "after my departing:" that is, after his going on his journey.--And yet this thing has happened already: much more (then will it happen) hereafter. Then we have the cause, "to draw away disciples after them." (v. 30). That there are heresies, this is the cause, and no other than this. Then comes also consolation. But if He "purchased" it "with His own blood," He will assuredly stand forward in its defence. "Night and day," he says, "I cease not to warn with tears." (v. 31.) This might well be said in our case also: and though the speech seems to refer peculiarly to the teachers, it is common also to the disciples. For what, though I speak and exhort and weep night and day, while the disciple obeys not? Therefore  it is that he says, "I take you to record:" since also himself says, "I am pure from the blood of all men: for I have not shunned to declare unto you." (v. 26, 27.) Why then, this only is to be a teacher, to declare, to preach, to instruct, shrink from nothing, to exhort night and day: but if, while one is doing all this, nothing comes of it, ye know what remains. Then ye have another justification: "I am pure from the blood of all men." Think not that these words are spoken to us only: for indeed this speech is addressed to you also, that ye should attend to the things spoken, that ye should not start away from the hearing. What can I do? Lo! each day I rend myself with crying out, "Depart from the theatres:" and many laugh at us: "Desist from swearing, from covetousness:" numberless are our exhortations, and there is none to hear us. But I do not discourse during night? Fain would I do this also in the night time, and at your tables, if it were possible that one could be divided into ten thousand pieces, so as to be present with you and discourse. But if once in the week we call to you, and ye shrink back, and some of you do not even come here, and you that do come, depart having received no profit,--what shall we do? Many I know even sneer at us, that we are forever discoursing about the same things: so wearisome are we become to you by very satiety. But for this not we are to blame, but the hearers may thank themselves. For he indeed who is making good progress, rejoices to hear the same things always; it seems to be his praises that he hears spoken: but he who does not wish to get on, seems even to be annoyed, and though he hear the same thing but twice, it seems to him that he is hearing it often.
"I am pure," he says, "from the blood of all men." (v. 26.) This was fit and proper for Paul to say, but we dare not say it, conscious as we are of numberless faults. Wherefore for him the ever vigilant, ever at hand, the man enduring all things for the sake of the salvation of his disciples, it was fit and proper to say this: but we must say that of Moses, "The Lord was wroth with me for your sakes" (Deut. iii. 26), because ye lead us also into many sins. For when we are dispirited at seeing you make no progress, is not the greater part of our strength struck down? For what, I ask you has been done? Lo! by the grace of God we also have now passed the space of three years,  not indeed night and day exhorting you, but doing this, often every third day, or every seventh. What more has come of it? We accuse, we rebuke, we weep, we are in anguish, although not openly, yet in heart. But those (inward) tears are far more bitter than these (outward ones): for these indeed bring a kind of relief to the feelings of the sorrowful, whereas those aggravate it, and bind it fast. Since when there is any cause of grief, and one cannot give vent to the sorrow, lest he should seem to be vainglorious, think what he suffers! Were it not that people would tax me with excessive love of display, you would see me each day shedding fountains of tears: but to those my chamber is witness, and my hours of solitude. For believe me I have (at times) despaired of my own salvation, but from my mourning on your account, I have not even leisure to bemoan my own evils: so entirely are ye all in all to me. And whether I perceive you to be advancing, then, for very delight, I am not sensible of my own evils: or whether I see you not advancing, such is my grief, I again dismiss my own cares from my thoughts: brightening up on account of your good things, though I myself have evils without number, and saddened on account of your painful things, though my own successes are without number. For what hope is there for the teacher, when his flock is destroyed? What kind of life, what kind of expectation is there for him? With what sort of confidence will he stand up before God? what will he say? For grant that he has nothing laid to his charge, has no punishment to suffer, but is "pure from the blood of all men:" yet even so will he suffer a grief incurable: since fathers also though they be not liable to be called to account for their children's sins, nevertheless have grief and vexation. And this profits them nothing,  nor shields them (proistatai). "For it is they that watch for our souls, as those that must give account." (Heb. xiii. 17.) This seems to be a fearful thing: to me this gives no concern after your destruction. For whether I give account, or not, it is no profit to me. Might it be, that ye were saved, and I to give account because of you: ye saved, and I charged with not having fulfiled my part! For my anxiety is not that you should be saved through me as the means, but only that you should be saved, no matter by what person as the instrument. Ye know not the pangs of spiritual childbirth, how overpowering they are; how he who is in travail with this birth, would rather be cut into ten thousand pieces, than see one of those to whom he has given birth perishing and undone. Whence shall we persuade you? By no other argument indeed, but by what has been done, in all that regards you we shall clear ourselves.  We too shall be able to say, that in nothing have we "shrunk from declaring" to you the whole truth: nevertheless we grieve: and that we do grieve, is manifest from the numberless plans we lay and contrivances we devise. And yet we might say to ourselves, What matters it to me? I have done my part, "I am pure from" (their) "blood:" but this is not enough for comfort. If we could tear open our heart, and show it to you, ye would see with what largeness it holds (you) within it, both women and children and men; for such is the power of love, that it makes the soul more spacious than the heaven. "Receive us," says (Paul): "we have wronged no man, ye are not straitened in us." (2 Cor. vii. 2; vi. 12.) He had all Corinth in his heart, and says, "Ye are not straitened: be ye also enlarged" (2 Cor. vi. 13); but I myself could not say this, for I well know, that ye both love me and receive me. But what is the profit either from my love or from yours, when the things pertaining to God thrive not in us? It is a ground for greater sorrow, an occasion of worse mischief (lumes, al. lupes). I have nothing to lay to your charge: "for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me." (Gal. iv. 15.) "We yearn not only to give you the Gospel, but also our own souls." (1 Thess. ii. 8.) We are loved and we love (you): but this is not the question. But let us love Christ, "for the first commandment is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God: and the second is like unto it, And thy neighbor as thyself." (Matt. xxii. 37-39.) We have the second, we need the first: need the first, exceedingly, both I and you. We have it, but not as we ought. Let us love Him: ye know how great a reward is laid up for them that love Christ: let us love Him with fervor of soul, that, enjoying his goodwill, we may escape the stormy waves of this present life, and be found worthy to obtain the good things promised to them that love Him, through the grace and mercy of His only-begotten Son, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
"And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified."
What he does when writing in an Epistle, this he does also when speaking in council: from exhorting, he ends with prayer: for since he had much alarmed them by saying, "Grievous wolves shall enter in among you" (v. 29), therefore, not to overpower them, and make them lose all self-possession, observe the consolation (he gives). "And now," he says, as always, "I commend you, brethren, to God, and to the word of His grace:" that is, to His grace: it is grace that saveth. He constantly puts them in mind of grace, to make them more earnest as being debtors, and to persuade them to have confidence. "Which is able to build you up."  He does not say, to build, but, "to build up," showing that they had (already) been built. Then he puts them in mind of the hope to come; "to give you an inheritance," he says, "among all them which are sanctified." Then exhortation again: "I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel." (v. 33.) He takes away that which is the root of evils, the love of money. "Silver, or gold," he says. He says not, I have not taken, but, not even "coveted." No great thing this, but what follows after is great. "Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so laboring, ye ought to support the weak." (v. 34, 35.) Observe him employed in work and not simply that, but toiling. "These hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me:" so as to put them to shame. And see how worthily of them. For he says not, Ye ought to show yourselves superior to money, but what? "to support the weak"--not all indiscriminately--"and to hear the word of the Lord which He spake, It is more blessed to give than to receive."  For lest any one should think that it was spoken with reference to them, and that he gave himself for an ensample, as he elsewhere says, "giving an ensample to you" (Phil. iii. 17), he added the declaration of Christ, Who said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." He prayed over them while exhorting them: he shows it both by action,--"And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all," (v. 36)--he did not simply pray, but with much feeling: (katanuxeos): great was the consolation--and by his saying, "I commend you to the Lord. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more." (v. 37, 38.) He had said, that "grievous wolves should enter in;" had said, "I am pure from the blood of all men:" and yet the thing that grieved them most of all was this, "that they should see him no more:" since indeed it was this that made the war grievous. "And they accompanied them," it says, "unto the ship. And it came to pass, that after we had torn ourselves from them"--so much did they love him, such was their affection towards him--"and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara: and finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth. Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre" (Acts xxi. 1-3): he came to Lycia, and having left Cyprus, he sailed down to Tyre--"for there the ship was to unlade her burden. And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem." (v. 4.) They too prophesy of the afflictions. It is so ordered that they should be spoken by them also, that none might imagine that Paul said those things without cause, and only by way of boasting. And there again they part from each other with prayer. "And when we had accomplished those days, we departed, and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed. And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again. And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day. And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Cæsarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him." (v. 5-8.) Having come to Cæsarea, it says, we abode with Philip, which was one of the seven. "And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy." (v. 9.) But it is not these that foretell to Paul, though they were prophetesses; it is Agabus. "And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles." (v. 10, 11.) He who formerly had declared about the famine, the same says, This "man, who owneth this girdle, thus shall they bind." (ch. xi. 28.) The same that the prophets used to do, representing events to the sight, when they spoke about the captivity--as did Ezekiel--the same did this (Agabus). "And," what is the grievous part of the business, "deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem." (v. 12.) Many even besought him not to depart, and still he would not comply. "Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart?"  (v. 13.) Do you mark? Lest, having heard that saying, "I go bound in the Spirit" (ch. xx. 22), you should imagine it a matter of necessity, or that he fell into it ignorantly, therefore these things are foretold. But they wept, and he comforted them, grieving at their tears. For, "what mean ye," he says, "to weep and to break my heart?" Nothing could be more affectionate: because he saw them weeping, he grieved, he that felt no pain at his own trials. "For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done." (v. 13, 14.) Ye do me wrong in doing this: for do I grieve? Then they ceased, when he said, "to break my heart." I weep, he says, for you, not on account of my own sufferings: as for those (men), I am willing even to die for them. But let us look over again what has been said.
(Recapitulation.) "Silver, or gold, or apparel," etc. (ch. xx. 33, 34; 1 Cor. ix; 2 Cor. xi.) So then, it was not in Corinth only that they did this  --they that corrupted the disciples, but in Asia as well. But he nowhere casts this up as a reproach to the Ephesians, when writing to them. And why? Because he did not fall upon any subject that obliged him to speak of this. But to the Corinthians he says, "My boasting has not been stopped in the regions of Achaia." (2 Cor. xi. 10.) And he does not say, Ye did not give to me; but, "Silver, or gold, or apparel, I coveted not," that it might not seem to be their doing, that they had not given. And he does not say, From no man have I coveted the necessaries of life, that again it might not look like accusing them: but he covertly hints as much, seeing that he provided subsistence for others as well as himself. See how he worked with earnestness, "night and day" discoursing (to others), "with tears warning each one of them." (v. 31.) (Here) again he puts them in fear: "I have showed you all things," he says: ye cannot take refuge in the plea of ignorance: "have shown you" by works "how that so laboring ye ought to work." And he does not say, that to receive is bad, but that not to receive is better. For, "remember," he says, "the words of the Lord which he spake: It is more blessed to give than to receive." (v. 35.) And where said He this? Perhaps the Apostles delivered it by unwritten tradition; or else it is plain from (recorded sayings, from) which one could infer it.  For in fact here he has shown both boldness in meeting dangers, sympathy with those over whom he ruled, teaching with (unshrinking) boldness, humility, (voluntary) poverty: but, what we have here is even more than that poverty. For if He says there (in the Gospel), "If thou wilt be perfect, sell what thou hast and give to the poor" (Matt. xix. 21), when, besides receiving nothing himself, he provides sustenance for others also, what could equal this? It is one degree to fling away one's possessions; a second, to be sufficient for the supply of one's own necessities: a third, to provide for others also; a fourth, for one (to do all this) who preaches and has a right to receive. So that here is a man far better than those who merely forego possessions. "Thus it is right to support the weak:" this is (indeed) sympathy with the weak; for to give from the labors of others, is easy. "And they fell on his neck," it says, "and wept." (v. 37.) He shows their affection also by saying, "Upon his neck," as taking a last and yet a last embrace, such was the love they conceived from his discourse, such the spell of love that bound them. For if we groan when simply parting from each other, although we know that we shall receive one another back again, what a tearing away of themselves it must have been to them! Methinks Paul also wept. "Having torn ourselves away," he says: he shows the violence of it by saying, "having torn ourselves away from them." And with reason: otherwise they could never have got to sea. What means, "We came with a straight course unto Coos?" Instead of saying, "we did not go round nor make stay in other places." Then "unto Rhodes." (ch. xxi. 1.) See how he hastes on. And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia. (v. 2.) Possibly that ship (in which they had come) was making a stay there: wherefore they shifted to another, and not having found one going to Cæsarea, but (finding this) for Phenice, they embarked in it (and pursued their voyage), having left Cyprus also and Syria: but the expression, "having left it on the left hand," is not said simply (in that meaning), but that they made speed not to get to Syria either.  "We landed at Tyre." (v. 3.) Then they tarry with the brethren seven days. Now that they were come near to Jerusalem, they no longer run. (b) "Who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem." (v. 4.) Observe how, when the Spirit does not forbid, he complies. They said, "Adventure not thyself into the theatre, and he did not adventure" (ch. xix. 31): often they bore him off (from dangers), and he complied: again he escaped by a window: and now, though numberless persons, so to say, beseech him, both those at Tyre and those at Cæsarea, weeping also and predicting numberless dangers, he refuses to comply. And yet it is not (merely), they predicted the dangers, but "said by the Spirit." If then the Spirit bade, why did he gainsay? "By the Spirit," that is, they knowing "by the Spirit" (what would be the consequences, said to him): for of course it does not mean that the exhortation they made was by the Spirit. For they did not simply foretell to him the dangers (through the Spirit), but (added of themselves) that it behooved him not to go up--sparing him. But "after we had accomplished the days," i.e. had fulfilled the appointed days, "we separated, and went on our way: they all bringing us on our way with wives and children." (v. 5.)--See how great was the entreaty. And again they part with prayer. Also in Ptolemais they stay one day, but in Cæsarea many. (v. 6-8.) (a) Now that they are near to Jerusalem, they no longer hurry. For observe, I pray you, all the days. "After the day of unleavened bread" they came "to Troas in five days" (ch. xx. 6); then they there spent "seven;" in all, twelve: then to "Thasos," to "Mytilene," to "Trogylium" and "over against Chios," and to "Samos" and "Miletus" (ib. 13-17); eighteen in all. Then to "Cos," to "Rhodes," to "Patara," twenty-one: then say  five to "Tyre;" twenty-six: there "seven;" thirty-three; "Ptolemais," thirty-four; then to "Cæsarea, many days" (ch. xxi. 1-10); and then, thereafter, the prophet puts them up thence. (c) When Paul has heard that he has to suffer numberless perils, then he is in haste, not flinging himself upon the dangers but accounting it to be the command of the Spirit. (e) And Agabus does not say, "They shall bind" Paul, that he may not seem to speak upon agreement (with Paul), but "the man that owneth this girdle" (v. 11)--so then he had a girdle also.  But when they could not persuade him--this was why they wept--then they "held their peace." Do you mark the resignation? do you mark the affection? "They held their peace," it says, "saying, The will of the Lord be done." (v. 12-14.) (g) The Lord, say they, Himself will do that which is pleasing in his sight. For they perceived that it was the will of God. Else Paul would not be so bent (upon going)--he that on all (other occasions delivers himself out of dangers. (d) "And after these, days," it says, "having taken up our baggage"--i.e. having received the (supplies) necessary for the journey--"we went up to Jerusalem." (v. 15.) "And there went with us also certain of the disciples from Cæsarea, bringing us to one with whom we should lodge, one Mnason, an ancient disciple of Cyprus."  (v. 16.) "And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly." (v. 17.) (f) "Bringing us," it says, "(to him) with whom we should lodge"--not to the church: for on the former occasion (ch. xv. 4), when they went up concerning the decrees, they lodged with the Church, but now with a certain "ancient disciple." (The expression) shows that the preaching had been going on a long time: whence it seems to me that this writer in the Acts epitomizes the events of many years, relating (only) the matters of chief importance. (h) So unwilling were they to burthen the Church, when there was another to lodge them; and so little did they stand upon their dignity. "The brethren," it says, "received us gladly." Affairs among the Jews were now full of peace: there was not much warfare (among them). "Bringing us," it says, "to one with whom we should lodge." Paul was the guest he entertained. Perchance some one of you says: Aye, if it were given me to entertain Paul as a guest, I readily and with much eagerness would do this. Lo! it is in thy power to entertain Paul's Master for thy guest, and thou wilt not: for "he that receiveth one of these least," he saith, "receiveth Me." (Matt. xviii. 5; Luke ix. 48.) By how much the brother may be least, so much the more does Christ come to thee through him. For he that receives the great, often does it from vainglory also; but he that receives the small, does it purely for Christ's sake. It is in thy power to entertain even the Father of Christ as thy guest, and thou will not: for,  "I was a stranger," He says, "and ye took me in" (Matt. xxv. 35): and again, "Unto one of the least of these the brethren that believe on Me, ye have done it unto Me." (ib. 40.) Though it be not Paul, yet if it be a believer and a brother, although the least, Christ cometh to thee through him. Open thine house, take Him in. "He that receiveth a prophet," He saith, "shall receive a prophet's reward." (Matt. x. 41.) Therefore too he that receives Christ, shall receive the reward of him who has Christ for his guest.  Do not thou disbelieve His words, but be believing. Himself hath said, Through them I come to thee: and that thou mayest not disbelieve, He lays down both punishments for those who do not receive, and honors for those who do receive; since He would not have done this, unless both the person honored and the person insulted were Himself. "Thou receivedst Me," He saith, "into thy lodging, I will receive thee into the Kingdom of My Father; thou tookest away My hunger, I take away thy sins; thou sawest Me bound, I see thee loosed; thou sawest Me a stranger, I make thee a citizen of heaven; thou gavest Me bread, I give thee an entire Kingdom, that thou mayest inherit and possess it." He saith not, "Receive," but, "Inherit," the word which is spoken of those who have possession by right of ownership; as when we say, "This have I inherited." Thou didst it to Me in secret, I will proclaim it openly: and of thine acts indeed I say, that they were of free gift, but Mine are of debt. "For since thou," He saith, "didst begin, I follow and come after: I am not ashamed to confess the benefits conferred on Me, nor from what things thou didst free Me, hunger and nakedness and wandering. Thou sawest Me bound, thou shalt not behold the fire of hell; thou sawest Me sick, thou shalt not behold the torments nor the punishments." O hands, truly blessed, which minister in such services as these, which are accounted worthy to serve Christ! Feet which go into prisons for Christ's sake, with ease defy the fire: no trial of bonds have they, (the hands)  which saw Him bound! Thou clothedst Him with a garment, and thou puttest on a garment of salvation: thou wast in prison with Him, and with Him thou findest thyself in the Kingdom, not ashamed, knowing that thou visitedst Him. The Patriarch knew not that he was entertaining Angels, and he did entertain them. (Gen. xviii. 3.) Let us take shame to ourselves, I beseech you: he was sitting in mid-day, being in a foreign land, where he had none inheritance, "not so much as to set his foot on" (ch. vii. 5): he was a stranger, and the stranger entertained strangers: for he was a citizen of heaven. Therefore, not even while he was on earth was he a stranger (to Him). We are rather strangers than that stranger, if we receive not strangers. He had no home, and his tent was his place of reception. And mark his liberality--he killed a calf, and kneaded fine meal: mark his ready mind--by himself and his wife: mark the unassuming manner--he worships and beseeches them. For all these qualities ought to be in that man who entertains strangers--readiness, cheerfulness, liberality. For the soul of the stranger is abashed, and feels ashamed; and unless (his host) show excessive joy, he is as (if) slighted, and goes away, and it becomes worse than not to have received him, his being received in this way. Therefore he worships them, therefore he welcomes them with speech, therefore with a seat. For who would have hesitated, knowing that this work was done unto Him? "But we are not in a foreign land." If we will, we shall be able to imitate him. How many of the brethren are strangers? There is a common apartment, the Church, which we call the "Xenon." Be inquisitive (periergazesthe), sit before the doors, receive those who come yourselves; though you may not wish to take them into your houses, at any rate in some other way (receive them), by supplying them with necessaries. "Why, has not the Church means" you will say? She has: but what is that to you? that they should be fed from the common funds of the Church, can that benefit you? If another man prays, does it follow that you are not bound to pray? Wherefore do you not say, "Do not the priests pray? then why should I pray?" "But I," you will say, "give to him who cannot be received there." Give, though it be to that one: for what we are anxious for is this, that you should give at any rate. Hear what Paul says: "That it may relieve them that are widows indeed, and that the Church be not burdened." (1 Tim. v. 16.) Be it how you will, only do it. But I put it, not, "that the Church be not burdened," but, "that thou be not burdened;" for at this rate thou wilt do nothing, leaving all to the Church. This is why there is a common room set apart by the Church, that you may not say these things. "The Church," say you, "has lands,  has money, and revenues." And has she not charges? I ask; and has she not a daily expenditure? "No doubt," you will say. Why then do you not lend aid to her moderate means? I am ashamed indeed to say these things: however, I compel no man, if any one imagines what I am saying to be for gain. Make for yourself a guest-chamber in your own house: set up a bed there, set up a table there and a candlestick. (comp. 2 Kings iv. 10.) For is it not absurd, that whereas, if soldiers should come, you have rooms set apart for them, and show much care for them, and furnish them with everything, because they keep off from you the visible war of this world, yet strangers have no place where they might abide? Gain a victory over the Church. Would you put us to shame? This do: surpass us in liberality: have a room, to which Christ may come; say, "This is Christ's cell; this building is set apart for Him." Be it but an underground  chamber, and mean, He disdains it not. "Naked and a stranger," Christ goes about, it is but a shelter He wants: afford it, though but this. Be not uncompassionate, nor inhuman; be not so earnest in worldly matters, so cold in spiritual. Let also the most faithful of thy servants be the one entrusted with this office, and let him bring in the maimed, the beggars, and the homeless. These things I say to shame you. For ye ought indeed to receive them in the upper part of your house; but if ye will not do this, then though it be below, though but where thy mules are housed, and thy servants, there receive Christ. Perchance ye shudder at hearing this. What then, when ye do not even this? Behold, I exhort, behold, I bid you; let this be a matter to be taken up in earnest. But ye do not wish it thus, perhaps? Do it some other way. There are many poor men and poor women: set apart some one (of these) constantly to remain there: let the poor man be (thine inmate) though but as a guard to thy house: let him be to thee wall and fence, shield and spear. Where alms are, the devil dares not approach, nor any other evil thing. Let us not overlook so great a gain. But now a place is set apart for a chariot, and for litters (basterniois) another; but for Christ Who is wandering, not even one! Abraham received the strangers in the place where he abode himself; his wife stood in the place of a servant, the guests in the place of masters. He knew not that he was receiving Christ; knew not that he was receiving Angels; so that had he known it, he would have lavished his whole substance. But we, who know that we receive Christ, show not even so much zeal as he did who thought that he was receiving men. "But they are impostors," you will say, "many of them, and unthankful." And for this the greater thy reward, when thou receivest for the sake of Christ's name. For if thou knowest indeed that they are impostors, receive them not into thy house: but if thou dost not know this, why dost thou accuse them lightly? "Therefore I tell them to go to the receiving house." But what kind of excuse is there for us, when we do not even receive those whom we know, but shut our doors against all? Let our house be Christ's general receptacle: let us demand of them as a reward, not money, but that they make our house the receptacle for Christ; let us run about everywhere, let us drag them in, let us seize our booty: greater are the benefits we receive than what we confer. He does not bid thee kill a calf: give thou bread to the hungry, raiment to the naked, shelter to the stranger. But that thou mayest not make this thy pretext, there is a common apartment, that of the Church; throw thy money into that, and then thou hast received them: since (Abraham) there had the reward of those things also which were done by his servants. "He gave the calf to a young man, and he hasted to dress it." (Gen. xviii. 7.) So well trained were his servants also! They ran, and murmured not as ours do: for he had made them pious. He drew them out to war, and they murmured not: so well disciplined were they. (Gen. xiv. 14.) For he had equal care for all as for himself: he all but said as Job did, "We were alike formed in the same womb." (Job xxxiii. 6.) Therefore let us also take thought for their salvation, and let us make it our duty to care for our servants, that they may be good; and let our servants also be instructed in the things pertaining to God. Then will virtue not be difficult to us, if we train them orderly. Just as in war, when the soldiers are well-disciplined, the general carries on war easily, but the contrary happens, when this is not so; and when the sailors too are of one mind, the pilot easily handles the rudder-strings; so here likewise. For say now, if thy servants have been so schooled, thou wilt not be easily exasperated, thou wilt not have to find fault, wilt not be made angry, wilt not need to abuse them. It may be, thou wilt even stand in awe of thy servants, if they are worthy of admiration, and they will be helpers with thee, and will give thee good counsel. But from all these shall all things proceed that are pleasing to God, and thus shall the whole house be filled with blessing, and we, performing things pleasing to God, shall enjoy abundant succor from above, unto which may we all attain, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost, together be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
"And the day following Paul went in with us unto James: and all the elders were present. And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry."
This was the Bishop of Jerusalem; and to him (Paul) is sent on an earlier occasion. This (James) was brother of the Lord; a great and admirable man. (To him, it says,) "Paul entered in with us." Mark the (Bishop's) unassuming behavior: "and the elders" (were present). Again Paul relates to them the things relating to the Gentiles, not indulging in vainglory, God forbid, but wishing to show forth the mercy of God, and to fill them with great joy. (ch. xv.) See accordingly: "when they heard it," it says, "they glorified God,"--not praised nor admired Paul: for in such wise had he narrated, as referring all to Him--"and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believed." Observe with what modest deference they too speak: "they said to him:" not (James) as Bishop discourses authoritatively, but they take Paul as partner with them in their view; "Thou seest, brother:" as though immediately and at the outset apologizing for themselves, and saying, "We did not wish this. Seest thou the necessity of the thing? `how many thousands,' say they, `of Jews there are which' have come together." And they say not, "how many thousands we have made catechumens," but, "there are. And these," say they, "are all zealous for the law." (v. 20.) Two reasons--the number of them, and their views. For neither had they been few, would it have been right to despise them: nor, if they were many and did not all cling to the law, would there have been need to make much account of them. Then also a third cause is given: "And they all," it says, "have been informed of thee"--they say not,"have heard," but katechethesan, that is, so they have believed, and have been taught, "that thou teachest apostasy from Moses to all the Jews which are among the Gentiles, by telling them not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs." (v. 21.) "What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. Do therefore this that we say to thee" (v. 22, 23): they say these things as advising, not as commanding. "We have four men which have a vow on them; them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them." Make thy defence in act, not in word--"that they may shave themselves," it says, "and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law" (v. 23, 24): they say not, "teachest," but, of superabundance, "that thou thyself also keepest the law." For of course not this was the matter of chief interest, whether he did not teach others, but, that he did himself observe the law. "What then" (he might say), "if the Gentiles should learn it? I shall injure them." How so? say they, seeing that even we, the teachers of the Jews, have sent unto them. "As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication." (v. 25.) Here with a kind of remonstrance (entreptikhos), As "we," say they, commanded them, although we are preachers to the Jews, so do thou, although a preacher to the Gentiles, cooperate with us. Observe Paul: he does not say, "Well, but I can bring forward Timothy, whom I circumcised: well, but I can satisfy them by what I have to say (of myself):" but he complied, and did all: for in fact thus was it expedient (to do).  For it was one thing to take (effectual) measures for clearing himself, and another to have done these things without the knowledge of any (of the parties). It was a step open to no suspicion, the fact of his even bearing the expenses. "Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, signifying the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them." (v. 26.) "Signifying," diangellon, i.e. katangellon, publicly notifying: so that it was he who made himself conspicuous. "And when the seven days were about to be completed, the Jews from Asia"--for (his arrival) most keeps times with theirs  --"when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place." (v. 27, 28.) Mark their habitual conduct, how turbulent we everywhere find it, how men who with or without reason make a clamor in the midst.  "For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple. And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple and forthwith the doors were shut." (v. 29, 30.) "Men of Israel," it says, "help: this is the man that (teaches) against the people, and the law, and this place."--the things which most trouble them, the Temple and the Law. And Paul does not tax the Apostles with being the cause of these things to him. "And they drew him," it says, "out of the Temple: and the doors were shut." For they wished to kill him; and therefore were dragging him out, to do this with greater security. "And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the tribune of the cohort, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul. Then the tribune came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done. And some cried one thing, some another, among the multitude." (v. 31-34.) But the tribune having come down delivered him, and "commanded him to be bound with two chains:" (hereby) appeasing the anger of the people. "And when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle. And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people. For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, Away with him!" (v. 34-36.) What means, "Away with him?" that is, what they say with us according to the Roman custom, To the standards with him!  "And as Paul was to be led into the castle, he said unto the tribune, May I speak unto thee?" (v. 37.) In the act of being borne along up the stairs, he requests to say something to the tribune: and observe how quietly he does it. "May I speak unto thee?" he says. "Who said, Canst thou speak Greek? Art thou not then that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?" (v. 38.) For (this Egyptian) was a revolutionary and seditious person. With regard to this then Paul clears himself, and * * 
(Recapitulation.) "Do therefore this that we say unto thee," etc. (v. 23, 24.) He shows that it was not necessary to do this upon principle (proegoumenos)--whence also they obtain his compliance--but that it was economy and condescension.  "As touching the Gentiles," etc. (v. 25.) Why, then, this was no hindrance to the preaching, seeing they themselves legislated for them to this effect. Why, then,  in his taking Peter to task he does not absolutely (haplhos) charge him with doing wrong: for precisely what he does on this occasion himself, the same does Peter on that occasion, (merely) holding his peace, and establishing his doctrine. (Gal. ii. 11.) And he says not, For why? it is not right to teach those among the Gentiles. "It is not enough to have not (so) preached there, but there was need also to do something more, that those may be persuaded that thou observest the law. The affair is one of condescension, be not alarmed." They do not advise him (to this course) sooner, until they have first spoken of the economy and the gain. "And besides, the doing this in Jerusalem, is a thing to be borne. `Do thou this thing therefore' here, that it may be in thy power abroad to do the other." (b) "The next day," it says, "he took them" (v. 26): he deferred it not; for when there is economy in the case, this is the way of it. (a) "Jews from Asia having seen him," for it was natural that they were spending some days there, "in the Temple." (v. 27.) (c) Mark the economy (of Providence) that appeared (in this). (p. 279, note 1) After the (believing) Jews had been persuaded (concerning him), then it is that those (Jews of Asia) set upon him in order that those (believing Jews) may not also set upon him. Help, say they, "ye men of Israel!" as though it were some (monster) difficult to be caught, and hard to be overcome, that has fallen into their hands. "All men," they say, "everywhere, he ceaseth not to teach;" not here only. And then the accusation (is) more aggravated by the present circumstances. "And yet more," say they, "he has polluted the temple, having brought into it men who are Greeks." (v. 28.) And yet in Christ's time there "came up (Greeks) to worship" (John xii. 20): true, but here it speaks of Greeks who had no mind to worship. "And they seized Paul," etc. (v. 30-35.) They no longer wanted laws nor courts of justice: they also beat him. But he forbore to make his defence then; he made it afterward: with reason; for they would not even have heard him then. Pray, why did they cry, "Away with him?" (v. 36.) They feared he might escape them. Observe how submissively Paul speaks to the tribune. "May I speak unto thee? Then art not thou that Egyptian?" (v. 37, 38.) This Egyptian, namely, was a cheat and impostor, and the devil expected to cast a cloud over (the Gospel) through him, and implicate both Christ and His Apostles in the charges pertaining to those (imposters): but he prevailed nothing, nay the truth became even more brilliant, being nothing defeated by the machinations of the devil, nay rather shining forth all the more. Since if there had not been impostors, and then these (Christ and His Apostles) had prevailed, perhaps some one might have laid hold upon this: but when those impostors did actually appear, this is the wonder. "In order," says (the Apostle), "that they which are approved may be made manifest." (1 Cor. xi. 19.) And Gamaliel says, "Before these days stood up Theudas."  Then let us not grieve that heresies exist, seeing that false Christs wished to attack even Christ both before this and after; with a view to throw Him into the shade, but on every occasion we find the truth shining out transparent. So it was with the Prophets: there were false prophets, and by contrast with these they shone the more: just as disease enhances health, and darkness light, and tempest calm. There is no room left for the Greeks to say that (our teachers) were impostors and mountebanks: for those (that were such) were exposed. It was the same in the case of Moses: God suffered the magicians, on purpose that Moses might not be suspected to be a magician: He let them teach all men to what length magic can go in making a fantastic show: beyond this point they deceived not, but themselves confessed their defeat. Impostors do us no harm, rather do us good, if we will apply our mind to the matter. What then, you will say, if we are partners with them in common estimation? The estimation is not among us, but with those who have no judgment. Let not us greatly care for the estimation of the many, nor mind it more than needs. To God we live, not to men: in heaven we have our conversation, not on earth: there lie the awards and the prizes of our labors, thence we look for our praises, thence for our crowns. Thus far let us trouble ourselves about men--that we do not give and afford them a handle against us. But if, though we afford none, those choose to accuse us thoughtlessly and without discrimination, let us laugh, not  weep. "Provide" thou "things honest before the Lord and before men" (2 Cor. viii. 21): if, though thou provide things honest, that man derides, give thyself no more concern (for that). Thou hast thy patterns in the Scriptures. For, saith he, "do I now persuade men or God?" (Gal. i. 10) and again, "We persuade men, but we are made manifest unto God." (2 Cor. v. 11.) And Christ (spoke) thus of them that take offence: "Let them alone, they be blind guides of the blind" (Matt. xv. 14); and again, "Woe unto you, when all men speak well of you" (Luke vi. 26): and again, "Let your works shine, that men may see, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matt. v. 16.) And, "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depths of the sea." (Matt. xviii. 6.)
These sayings are not contrary, nay, they are exceedingly in accord. For when the offence is with us, then woe unto us, but when not with us, not so. And again, Woe to (that man) through whom "the name of God is blasphemed." (Rom. ii. 24.) How then if I do what is right in anything, but another blasphemes? That is nothing to me, but only to him: for through him (God) was blasphemed. "And how is it possible to do what is right in anything, and yet give a handle to the rest?" Whence will ye that I bring examples--from present, or from old times? Not to be easily scared (psophodeheis), shall we speak to the very point now in hand? Paul judaized in Jerusalem, but in Antioch not so: he judaized, and they were offended (p. 282, note 3), but those had no right to be offended. He is said to have saluted both Nero's cupbearer and his concubine:  what, think ye, must they have said against him because of this? But they had no right to do so. Since, if he drew them to him for  loose living or any wicked acts, one might well be offended: but if in order to right living, what is there to be offended at? Let me mention something that happened to one of my acquaintance. The wrath of God once fell upon (a city), and he being very young (was) in the order of deacon. The bishop was absent at the time, and of the presbyters none took thought for the matter, but indiscriminately they caused in one night immense numbers  of people to be baptized all at once, and they did indiscriminately receive baptism, all of them ignorant of everything: these he took apart by a hundred or two hundred together, and discoursed to them, not upon any other subject, but only on the sacraments, so that the unbaptized also were not allowed to be present. Many thought he did this because he coveted rule. But he cared not for that: neither however did he continue the thing for a (longer) time, but immediately desisted. When then? Was he the cause of the scandal? I think not. For if indeed he had done this without cause, they might with reason have ascribed it to him: and so again, if he had continued to do so. For when aught of what is pleasing to God is hindered by another's taking offence, it is right to take no notice: but then is the time to mind it, when we are not forced because of him to offend God. For, say, if, while we are discoursing and putting drunkards to shame (skoptonton), any one take offence--am I to give over speaking? Hear Christ say, "Will ye also go away?" (John vi. 67.) So then, the right thing is, neither to take no notice, nor to take too much, of the weakness of the many. Do we not see the physicians acting thus: how, when it may be done, they humor the whims of their patients, but when the gratification does harm, then they will not spare? Always it is good to know the right mean. Many reviled, because a certain beautiful virgin stayed, and they railed upon those who catechised (her). What then? Was it their duty to desist for that? By no means. For let us not look to this only, whether some be offended, but whether they are justly offended, and  so that it is no hurt to ourselves (to give way). "If meat," saith (Paul), "offend my brother, I will eat no meat as long as the world lasts." (1 Cor. viii. 13.) With reason: for the not eating did (him) no harm. If however it offend him, that I wish to renounce (apotaxasthai) (the world), it is not right to mind him. And whom, you will ask, does this offend? Many, to my knowledge. When therefore the hindrance is a thing indifferent, let (the thing) be done  . Else, if we were to look only to this, many are the things we have to desist from: just as, on the other hand, if we should despise (all objections), we have to destroy many (brethren). As in fact Paul also took thought beforehand concerning offence: "Lest," he says, "in this liberality which is administered by us:" for it was attended with no loss (to him) to obviate an ill surmise. But when we fall into such a necessity as that great evils should ensue through the other's taking offence  let us pay no heed to that person. He has to thank himself for it, and we are not now accountable, for it was not possible to spare him without hurt (to ourselves). Some were offended, because certain believers sat down to meat in (heathen) temples. It was not right to sit down: for no harm came of this (their not doing it). They were offended, because Peter ate with the Gentiles. But he indeed spared them, but (Paul)  not so. On all occasions it behooves us in following the laws of God to take great pains that we give no matter of offence; that both ourselves may not have to answer for it, and may have mercy vouchsafed us from God, by the grace and loving-kindness of His only-begotten Son, with Whom to the Father and Holy Ghost together be glory, dominion, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
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